Breathalyzers may soon dominate Utah bars

By Holly Bogardus,

Republican Rep. Greg Hughes of Utah has proposed bars install breathalyzers in a move to cut back on drunk driving in the state.

The measure won’t require or enforce any bar to install the devices, reports Fox News. Some bar owners question the measure, as the devices can cost up to $1,000. Owners also question the accuracy of the devices, while bar patrons fear it imposes on their rights.

Patrons fear that police may have access to the readings, should someone fail the test but still choose to drive under the influence. Hughes, however, stated that police would not have access to the machines, and simply hopes it lowers the number of drunk drivers. The thought is that by testing and knowing where your blood alcohol content (BAC) is, it may dissuade those who were on the fence about driving.

According to ABC News, the most recent data available from 2010 shows drunk driving accounted for about 30 percent of all traffic deaths in the nation. In Utah that same year, it was around 10 percent. DUI arrests in Utah have waned in recent years, but lawmakers say the state should do more to prevent the numbers from rising again.

"It's not illegal to drink in the state of Utah," Hughes said, "but how does a consumer know where they're at, exactly? I think it makes sense. […] Setting up the machines alongside pool tables and juke boxes would especially help younger drinkers who are still learning their limits,” Hughes stated.

Hughes hopes to have the bill ready next week.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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